European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 242, Issue 10, pp 1755–1762 | Cite as

Mead fermentation monitoring by proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry and medium infrared probe

  • Martha CuencaEmail author
  • Flavio Ciesa
  • Andrea Romano
  • Peter Robatscher
  • Matteo ScampicchioEmail author
  • Franco Biasioli
Original Paper


Mead is a traditional alcoholic beverage similar to wine, but obtained by the fermentation of a diluted solution of honey. The rate of fermentation is generally monitored by the measurement of a set of physicochemical variables such as pH, titratable acidity, Brix degrees, sugars and ethanol concentration. This work aims at developing a new monitoring method for alcoholic fermentations that is based on two on-line approaches: a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) and a fibre optic coupled attenuated total reflection (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy. Microfermentations are performed on 100 mL musts in isothermal conditions at 20 °C. Musts consist on diluted honey solutions (24 Bx) with pollen (0.4 % w/v) and yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae subsp. bayanus). The effect of flavour enhancers [chilli (Capsicum annuum), clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) and a mixture of both] on the rate of fermentation was also evaluated. The results show that clove inhibits fermentation, whereas chilli increases the rate of fermentation. PTR-MS and FTIR-ATR are simple, fast and nondestructive techniques able to monitor the fermentation process without the need of sample preparation, extraction or pre-concentration steps.


Mead Alcoholic fermentation Honey Proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflectance spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR) probe Kinetics 



We thank Province of Bolzano for financial support (Landesregierung mittels Beschluss Nr. 1472, 07.10.2013) and Evelyn Soini for her technical support. Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry is funded by the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethical requirements

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martha Cuenca
    • 1
    Email author
  • Flavio Ciesa
    • 2
  • Andrea Romano
    • 1
  • Peter Robatscher
    • 3
  • Matteo Scampicchio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Franco Biasioli
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Science and TechnologyFree University of BozenBolzanoItaly
  2. 2.Laboratory of Food AnalysisProvincial Environment AgencyBolzanoItaly
  3. 3.Laboratory for Flavour and MetabolitesLaimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and ForestryOraItaly
  4. 4.Food Quality and Nutrition Area, IASMA Research and Innovation CentreFondazione Edmund MachS. Michele a/AItaly

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